Afew cars were parked quietly by the cemetery in the east of Guanlan City.
Qin Zhuopu was wearing a dark suit, holding a bouquet of white chrysanthemums.
Next to him was his mother, offering her late husband his favourite red roses, as she had done for the previous ten years.
Eleven years had passed.
It didn’t seem long but the sorrow was still diluted.
This year his mother didn’t shed silent tears; she seemed to be in a more relaxed mood.
As for Qin Zhuopu, he felt even better.
For the first time, he looked at the black and white photograph on the tombstone and smiled.
Qin Zhuopu bent down and offered the white chrysanthemums.
Half crouching, he reached out and brushed off the dust from the photo, saying, “When I used to come to see you, I never knew what to say to you, what there was to say.” So every year, on this day, he was always silent.
He stood by his mother’s side, afraid she would grieve too much.
“This year, I want to tell you something.
I’m a father, and the child is already six years old.”
Qin Zhuopu smiled at the man on the tombstone; the man who had shielded him from all the worries when he was alive.
Like many happy children, Qin Zhuopu had been able to focus on his own preferences and pursuits.
At that time, his father had even said that their family had nothing lacking and that if Qin Zhuopu liked reading and mathematics, it would be enough for him to become a great scholar in the future while his father would be the one to make the money.
Really, except for the last words that came suddenly before he died, his father hadn’t failed him in anything.
Now in a flash, Qin Zhuopu became a father himself.
“Zaizai is a chubby boy.
Very sensible and caring, better than me.” When he thought of Lu Zaizai, Qin Zhuopu smiled even more gently, “Zaizai is a sweet little cotton-padded jacket, just like Lu Ying, and always makes people feel good.
They both are very attentive and very kind.
As long as you are with them, all the worries are not a problem.”
Listening to her son beside her praise Lu Ying and Lu Zaizai, Mrs.
Qin thought that it was really true love from the heart.
She looked at the red roses in a daze and then at the photograph of her late husband on the tombstone, a black and white photograph in which he was always smiling and elegant.
She wondered if he could gain a little comfort when he heard his son’s words…
The son would no longer be around her, accommodating her, indulging her.
He had found someone he could be with for the rest of his life.
She shouldn’t cling to the past either.
It was time to let go of what she should have let go of.
“Next year, I’ll bring them to see you.” Qin Zhuopu promised.
He would work hard with all his heart for a year to gain Lu Ying’s trust and reliance, for Lu Ying to share his secret.
And Zaizai, he couldn’t wait to hear Zaizai call him “Dad”, not “Uncle”.
He had no strong backing, but from now on, he was going to be the backing of his family.
Qin, you are so spontaneous and generous.
Lu knew that, he would be very touched.” In the office, Secretary Huang, who had just sent away the lawyer, kept sighing.
Overnight, in black and white, Mr.
Qin’s personal assets had shrunk drastically and all of them had been transferred to Lu Ying.
This was really… how to say that, just leaving yourself some pocket money to buy cigarettes, tsk tsk… Why didn’t such a rich and generous man take a fancy to him instead? A building near the water sees the moon first, how come he couldn’t be this building…
Lu Ying, all he had to do now was sign his name and he could immediately rush to the top of the wealthy people list.
Tsk tsk, my eyes are bleeding with envy.
Secretary Huang rubbed the top of his balding head, his big belly cramped as if he was about to go into labour, and suddenly the lemon spirit possessed him, all his being feeling sour.
Qin Zhuopu rolled his eyes, knowing what the fat secretary was thinking.
He couldn’t help but say with disgust, “Calm down.
How is your daughter’s primary school going?”
Secretary Huang immediately replied seriously: “Although it’s nothing new, I feel very sorry for my daughter.
Oh mom, poor kid! When I was a child, I just had fun all the way smoothly into the key university without feeling very tired.”
“But now with my daughter it’s completely different.
She is studying so hard and she can’t finish her homework every day, so she has to make up for it on her days off.
She is busy like a spinning wheel.
Sometimes I really want her to stop studying and have a rest.
Hey, my wife is holding on tight, in fact, she is even more stressed than the child.
I really don’t know why it is so hard to be a parent now.”
“So hard?” Qin Zhuopu frowned, twirling his pen and thinking back to when he was a child.
He seemed to go to school regularly and learned many additional things as hobbies, but he didn’t feel particularly tired.
Learning was what it should be, and a hobby was a matter of trying it out first and then focusing on what you liked.
He was a little stressed about learning languages, English, French and German, but after he got over it, he was fine.
The key was that his father didn’t push him too much and took him to travel when he could, so he was able to combine work and leisure.
The teachers who taught him also had fun methods to teach, and his father said that if something felt dull, he should stop doing it.
“That’s right, the general situation is like this now.” Of course, it concerned ordinary families with no golden mines at home.
Qin’s worries were totally superfluous… Hehe, if it’s not easy for the child to go to school, big deal! Donate a building, and if it’s not enough, donate another one, ^_^.
Qin Zhuopu leaned back in his chair and frowned, deep in thought.
The summer vacation was coming soon, and he planned to find time to take Zaizai out for a trip before primary school started.
It would take less than a month; ten days would be okay.
The boy… grew up with too little money.
He was more than six years old, but he had never taken a train, never taken a plane, never been out of the province… not even played with decent authentic toys.
When it came to travelling, flying or taking a ship, Zaizai’s eyes were full of little stars of expectation… Such a simple wish, delayed for so many years.
Was there a father who failed more than him?
All these years, he had not appeared, nor had he contributed money and effort.
Right now, he wished to give everything best to Lu Ying and Zaizai.
If only Lu Ying didn’t still have a grudge in his heart, Qin Zhuopu would desperately want to take care of everything.
Qin…” Secretary Huang carefully called out to Qin Zhuopu.
Qin’s face changed, gloomy, looking painfully remorseful, full of worry about something.
Did he possibly… regret the transfer of the property?
Alas, it was too late to regret it now.
“Help me collect information on the top ranked primary schools now, both public and private.”
In the afternoon, the sun was shining brightly.
Caifeng City was rainy in spring and cold in winter, but as soon as the cold spring was over, from April to October, month after month, the sun was baking you!
If it was cold, it was cold.
If it was hot, it was hot.
Lu Ying wiped off the sweat from his forehead, purposely walking through the neighbourhood with his head lowered to spare his fair delicate face all the way into the bakery, where the cold air of the air conditioner blew on him.
“Come alive…” Lu Ying exhaled a long breath and took the empty food box to wash it.
Today he had stewed white gourd rib soup and after going home for lunch at noon sent a portion over to Brother Yang, who had returned to his home in the community to recuperate.
Now that the weather had entered the hot May, Brother Yang’s stomach was gaining momentum.
Hu and Brother Yang himself said that he felt very stable and healthy now, Lu Ying was still not at ease.
He was disappointed to find that Brother Yang still lived alone… he had never seen any boyfriend.
When he asked Brother Yang, Brother Yang always smiled and said nothing.
Lu Ying felt distressed.
Back then he still had Grandpa Lu to take care of him, but Brother Yang was alone and had to do everything by himself, and no one accompanied him to talk to relieve his boredom.
If he was far away, Lu Ying wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it.
But they lived in a small community, just a few buildings away.
If he made some delicious food, of course he had to send a portion to Brother Yang.
If there was free time, Lu Ying also wanted to chat with Brother Yang to relieve his boredom.
As a result… Well, Brother Yang had many interests and hobbies and was originally pretty quiet.
Every time Lu Ying went over, Brother Yang was either reading a book in the sun in the courtyard, or drawing under a sunshade, sometimes cutting and arranging flowers, and occasionally he was even playing chess alone…
o(╥﹏╥)o, interesting people live an interesting life even if they live alone!
Lu Ying also really wanted to be a leisurely and contented adult like Brother Yang.
The goal was ambitious, and he had to continue to work hard.
“Brother Xiao Lu, are you really not going to take the baker’s exam this time?” Fei Qiqi handed Lu Ying a glass of ice water and looked at him regretfully.
Lu Ying shook his head and smiled soothingly, “You guys go, I’ll think of something later.
Anyway, first I need to practice my skills and accumulate experience.” The staff in the shop were preparing for the upcoming baker’s certificate exams, some applying for the junior baker and some for the senior level.
But Lu Ying couldn’t enrol; he didn’t have a school certificate.
The Caifeng City level baker’s certificate required a high school diploma as the bottom line.
In fact, the baker’s certificate was not very useful; after all, no one looked at your theory, only at whether you were good at your craft.
But if you were looking for a job in a high-end place, a senior baker’s certificate was a stepping stone.
Brother Yang had the highest-level baker’s certificate in China.
Not only did he have to be good at his craft, he also had to be in the business for more than fifteen years.
But Brother Yang said this was all a gimmick.
As long as he learned the best, he would still be popular internationally, and who cared whether he had the certificate or not.
Lu Ying was a bit sorry that he couldn’t sign up, but he was not discouraged at all.
He didn’t know if he would be looking for a job in a fancy hotel or something like that; but if he reached that level in the future, he would open his own shop one day, whether he had a certificate or not!
Fei Qiqi whispered: “Actually, Brother Lu doesn’t have to worry, as long as you ask someone to make a fake certificate.
You don’t need to go too high, you can use a junior school or high school one.
The examination certificate is just a good-looking decoration anyway, but to deal occasionally with difficult guests having one is still more convenient than having none.
I’ll tell you something, that’s what Chen Xiao’an did.
He has his certificate for two years and he is absolutely fine.”
Chen Xiao’an was a male employee of the bakery, quite good at his craft and a hard worker.
Lu Ying didn’t feel bad about it; it was just that he himself… didn’t want to do that after all.
“Thank you, Brother Yang told me it doesn’t matter if I take the test now or not.
I still have to study hard.”
Go for it, Xiao Lu! You’ll always be the best!” Fei Qiqi gave him a cheer.
Lu Ying smiled, took out the strips of lean meat and started chopping them, ready to fry up a pot of fragrant meat floss.
Two hours later, Lu Zaizai and his favourite uncle Qin Zhuopu walked into the shop hand in hand, both hot and sweaty, and found a place to sit down, looking exhausted.
Qin Zhuopu put down the fishing gear and went to the front desk to ask Fei Qiqi for two iced drinks and some snacks.
Standing at the front desk, Qin Zhuopu looked towards the back of the workroom and asked, seemingly inadvertently, “It looks like you’re not busy now, right?”
Fei Qiqi smiled, “Business is relatively slow on hot days, but Brother Xiao Lu is very busy.
He is now responsible for most of the shop’s goods.
You can sit and wait for a while, Mr.
Qin, Brother Xiao Lu will be ready to go off work at five o’clock.”
Qin Zhuopu nodded and said nothing else, taking the food and enjoying it with the child.
Lu Zaizai, whose face was flushed with heat, ate happily, “It’s too hot today, I’m so tired of fishing, ah.
Uncle, let’s go to the slide this afternoon, okay?”
Qin Zhuopu smiled helplessly.
On the phone the child had begged to go fishing, so he immediately prepared the fishing gear after he arrived yesterday.
Today, he took the little guy to the lake to grab a spot to fish.
It turned out that Lu Zaizai couldn’t sit still.
Half an hour into the experience he was whining about how boring it was.
When Qin Zhuopu caught a fish, Lu Zaizai clapped his hands happily but released the fish a few minutes later, saying that the fish was too pitiful… are you angry, huh?
Who said we would catch big fish together and go home to give Dad extra food?!
The scariest thing was when after less than an hour by the lake the child suddenly said he had to poop! Qin Zhuopu was even more anxious than Zaizai.
He couldn’t find a toilet nearby, so he had to drag the kid a long way before he found the place.
He was afraid that Zaizai would poop in his pants but when they got to the toilet, the boy said he wasn’t going to poop anymore.
He immediately asked, “Why don’t you poop anymore?”
Lu Zaizai said naturally, “The stinky has already gone back, so I don’t want to poop.”
“……” He was so nervous that he was about to pee!
Wait for the day you call me “Dad”, you’ll sure get a good beating!
“It’s past two, it’s already afternoon.
We can go play on the slide after eating, but I’m going to teach you to do your maths exercises at home later.
You’ll be graduating from kindergarten in June, and you’ll be a big brother in the first grade in September, so you need to stop playing and focus on your studies.
Do you understand?” Qin Zhuopu handed the child a cupcake and spoke to him seriously.
Lu Zaizai swallowed the cake in one bite, flattening his mouth, aggrieved, and complained, “Uncle, why do you have to take me to do so much maths every time you come… Huh, I hate maths the most! Maths is so hard and boring.”
Qin Zhuopu’s breath caught in his throat, his heart feeling stuffy, “Who told you to be so confused in maths, you can’t even count double digits.
Listen to me, maths is not hard at all, it’s fun when you learn it well.
Uncle loves maths and his best subject is maths, how can you be bad at maths with me around?” It had to be learned! How could his son not be good at maths!
Lu Zaizai was not convinced: “I’m still a child, of course I can’t count.
Anyway, Dad says I’m the best, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t know maths.”
“You have to know maths, it’s important.”
Lu’s Zaizai shouted anxiously, “If you keep doing that, I won’t like you anymore! I won’t play with you anymore!”
The brat was trying to threaten him? Qin Zhuopu snorted, “Who said he wanted to go on a plane ride, a boat ride, see the sea, dolphins and whales with his uncle in the summer?”
Lu Zaizai immediately stopped talking and looked at Qin Zhuopu hesitantly.
Seeing the little one’s obvious interest, Qin Zhuopu added with a smile, “We can also go skydiving, play football and basketball, and ride horses in our estate.
The little white and little black raised by old Uncle Henry are very docile.
You will definitely like them very much.
When I was your age, I could already go out racing on my horse and won lots of fun prizes.”
Lu Zaizai looked full of yearning and admiration: “…why are there so many fun things in your family? Your family is so big.”
“Silly boy… My family is also your family.” Qin Zhuopu sighed and smiled: “You just have to tell me whether you want to go or not.”
Lu Zaizai nodded, dumbfounded: “I asked Dad and he said I can go on holiday with you.
Then, Uncle, don’t forget to take me with you when you go to play.
I, I will do maths with you obediently.
Don’t be angry…” He stared at Qin Zhuopu, speaking flatteringly.
As expected of his son, cute!
“So, do you still like me?” Qin Zhuopu asked with a smile as he took a tissue to wipe the crumbs from the corner of Zaizai’s mouth.
Lu Zaizai immediately nodded, smiling and affirming loudly, “I like you the most most most!”
“Hahaha…” Qin Zhuopu laughed heartily, extremely happy.
Lu Ying took a break from his busy schedule to see the big one and the little one getting along so well.
He couldn’t help but feel that Qin Zhuopu had been infected by Zaizai, and now he was always laughing and giggling, just like a silly dad_.
After eating the snacks, Lu’s Zaizai obediently went home with Qin Zhuopu to study maths.
When Lu Ying got off work at five o’clock, Qin Zhuopu insisted on taking the two of them out for a nice meal, and they finally went to the Shen family’s restaurant, where the three of them had a wonderful dinner.
On the way out, Lu Ying also packed a Buddha jumps over the wall to take back to Brother Yang.
The three of them strolled together through the community, slowly walking towards Brother Yang’s house.
As they approached the house, Lu Ying was the first to hear the familiar sound of music.
It was ‘Spring River and Moonlight Night’ played on an erhu.
Startled, Lu Ying said in a daze, “Grandpa Lu?”
He strained his ears to listen carefully, but the sound of the music was gone.
Lu Ying couldn’t help but speed up his pace towards Brother Yang’s house.
Yang Sigu opened the door and saw him, smiling slightly, “You came back so quickly, I thought you would be stuck in traffic.
Lu Ying cocked his head with a pensive look, looking at the empty living room and the closed courtyard door of Brother Yang’s house, “Brother Yang, was that you playing the erhu just now?”
Yang Sigu nodded, “Yes, I played for a while and then I was a bit tired.”
“Oh…” Lu Ying sighed, “I thought it was…” he scratched his head in embarrassment and added in admiration.
“I didn’t expect you to even know how to play the erhu, Brother Yang, geez, is there something you cannot do?”
Yang Sigu took the Buddha jumps over the wall and smiled, “There are many things I can do and many things I can’t.
I learned to play the erhu a long time ago, it’s just that I rarely stayed in the mountains, so you don’t know.
Speaking of which, your Grandpa Lu used to teach me to play the erhu… before you… were born.”
“Wow, that long ago! No wonder you play so well, you’re much better than me.
Grandpa also taught me to play the erhu, but I didn’t learn it well.
Grandpa said I played like a saw, haha…” Lu Ying recalled the old days and found that there were many happy times.
There was no need to always be sad, even though Grandpa Lu was gone.
He would forever remember how good Grandpa Lu was.
Yang Sigu smiled, “Come sit down for a while, I happen to have cut up a lot of fresh fruit.”
Lu Ying shook his head and gestured behind himself to Qin Zhuopu and Lu Zaizai, “No, we’re going for a walk, and Zaizai still wants to go play on the slide.
Bye, Brother Yang.”
Standing next to the playground watching his son play, Qin Zhuopu said curiously, “You can play the erhu, I didn’t know that.”
“It’s normal not to know.
I’m not good at it, so of course I don’t show it off.”
Qin Zhuopu smiled, “Then I’ll buy you an erhu next time and you can play it for me.”
“Better get me a pair of glasses and give me a broken bowl, I’ll go under the flyover and play ‘Butterfly Lovers’, hahaha…” Lu Ying laughed.
“……” Qin Zhuopu suddenly took advantage of the dark and pinched Lu Ying’s ass fiercely: “Being naughty in front of me all day! I don’t know how well behaved you are in front of some Brother Yang, Brother Ji or Dr.
Hu, but let’s see how I’ll deal with you tonight.”
Lu Ying’s eyes were teary as he clutched his butt and muttered, “It hurts like hell! How many times have I said: no pinching, only touching!”
A paw immediately went over and touched it.
“How’s that, it doesn’t hurt anymore, does it?” Qin Zhuopu smiled wickedly.
Lu Ying stared at him viciously, “Let’s see how I’ll deal with you tonight!”
“Whatever moves you have, just use them.” Qin Zhuopu’s smile deepened and his voice sounded a little hoarse.
Each time they met was too short, often just one night, but this time two days and two nights were earned.
The daytime was spent with the child playing and studying, and the nights were spent with Lu Ying… a tight schedule.
But even this way, it was still far from his ideal good life.
He wanted the family of three to live in a comfortable house.
Every morning when he opened his eyes, he could see his lover on the pillow next to him; could have breakfast with his lover and his child, then send the child to school together with his lover.
And every day when he got home from work he could see their smiling faces, enjoy dinner in their company, watch TV together, go for a walk, do anything together.
Late at night, Qin Zhuopu kissed Lu Ying’s ear over and over again and asked him softly, “Take Zaizai to school in Guanlan City and let’s live together?”
Trembling, Lu Ying dodged and responded in a whisper, “We are living together now too, this is my home.”
“…Zaizai would be better off studying there.”
Lu Ying turned his head: “Although I’m not as good as you and can’t give Zaizai very good conditions, we’ve come well over the years.
I have no intention of changing my environment, not to mention that I like my current job and want to continue doing it.”
Qin Zhuopu sighed helplessly, “Don’t be angry, I’m not forcing you.”
“You don’t feel happy now?” Lu Ying asked him rhetorically.
Qin Zhuopu shook his head, “I’m greedy and want to see you every day.
Want to live with you.”
Lu Ying was silent for a long time and said, “…I know it’s hard for you to run around.
But I can’t stop learning yet, I want to learn more, and when I can afford to open my own shop, I… will also consider going to you and starting over.
About a year or two, okay?”
Qin Zhuopu smiled and hugged Lu Ying tightly, “I believe in you.”
Lu Ying smiled, too, and pressed back, flaunting his authority, “Lie flat, I’m going to ride a horse!”
This is really, so cute! (*^▽^*)
In a blink of an eye, Lu Zaizai’s kindergarten life was completely over, and a hot summer vacation started.
Qin Zhuopu arrived as scheduled and flew overseas with his child, preparing to be a full-time dad for a period of fifteen days!
Lu Ying was busy in the bakery every day, but when he could spare time, he and Qin Zhuopu would video chat, and the other side sent back countless pictures of their trip.
Lu Ying looked at the child’s happy smile and felt very comforted.
Zaizai was getting closer and closer to Qin Zhuopu.
If this continued, one day he would surely accept the fact that there was one more father to love him.
“Brother Xiao Lu… there is an auntie looking for you.” Fei Qiqi walked into the workroom and whispered to Lu Ying.
She felt that the extraordinarily dressed auntie… was a bit unapproachable.
When she came in and ordered some drinks and snacks, she said she was looking for Lu Ying.
It was clear that she had come for Lu Ying.
Lu Ying was taken aback and immediately had a guess who it was.
He carefully washed his hands, wiped them clean meticulously and walked outside.
Passerby A: I heard that the man surnamed Lu had never studied and has no skills at all.
Passerby B: He is good-looking.
Lu Ying: Did you hear that? People say I don’t have any skills.
What do you like about me?
Obviously you can bake, play the erhu, arrange flowers, and especially ride a horse!
Lu Ying: That’s your luck!
Qin: Of course (*^▽^*)
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